Infusion time: 24 hours to 6 months
Green dragon tincture is a general term for a cannabis tincture where cannabinoids are extracted from the plant with alcohol.
Sometimes called golden dragon tincture, this kind of cannabis extraction has ancient roots and is easy to make at home. The alcohol acts as a solvent, dissolving the cannabinoids and terpenes off the plant and infusing them in the liquid.
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Using a tincture has many benefits, including measured dosing (keeping in mind discretion), fast-acting absorption, and a long product shelf life. Tinctures work quickly through sublingual dosing, because the cannabinoids are absorbed into your bloodstream through the thin tissue under the tongue. If you’re able to purchase THC tinctures where you live, reach for products that display the potency down to the decimal point for the most precise dosages.
Why would you make a tincture instead of smoking?
Smoking cannabis is a quick and efficient way to get the benefits of the plant, but it isn’t for everyone. Some people are unable to smoke due to health problems, while others lack the ability to smoke at home or the desire to smoke at all. Cannabis is a flexible plant, and cooking with cannabis opens the door to consumption to people who may otherwise shy away from the plant.
The importance of decarboxylation
Decarboxylation is the process by which acidic cannabinoids like THCa are converted into cannabinoids like THC, making it a crucial piece of the puzzle for cannabis extracts.
The raw cannabis plant is abundant with acidic cannabinoids, such as THCa and CBDa. While there are health benefits to consuming THCa and CBDa, if you’re making green dragon tincture, you’re looking for the specific benefits for THC and CBD, which are more noticeable in the body than their acidic counterparts. This tincture recipe doesn’t use any heat on the flower, so if you don’t decarb your weed first, the end result won’t be potent with active cannabinoids.
Dosing guidance for tinctures
Green dragon tincture is known for being a potent method of cannabis consumption, so it’s important to get your dosing right. When trying a homemade tincture for the first time, start low and go slow.
To avoid taking too much at once, start with a dose that is smaller than normal to confirm the potency of the tincture and your reaction. Once you know how strong it is, you can adjust the dosage for next time.
The alcohol dissolves all cannabinoids and terpenes (and even flavonoids) off the plant, creating a full-spectrum tincture. Full-spectrum products deliver the entourage effect, where the combined interaction of the compounds creates a well-balanced high.
The potency of green dragon tincture can easily cause a bad reaction in kids and pets, so it’s important to keep it stored away from the reach of curious hands and noses.
How to make green dragon tincture
- In a mason jar, combine your decarboxylated cannabis flower and alcohol. Use just enough alcohol to cover
- Close the jar and shake vigorously.
- Store the jar in a cool dark location for at least 24 hours. You can let the mix sit for 6 months, shaking once a day. If you’re using lower-proof alcohol, let your tincture sit for 21 – 30 days.
- When you’re ready to use, strain the tincture through a cheesecloth or coffee filter to remove the plant material. Transfer your tincture to a dropper jar and store it in a cool dark place.
Optional: evaporate the alcohol to make full-extract cannabis oil (FECO). You can leave your tincture out uncovered to naturally evaporate the alcohol off over a few days or speed up the process by applying heat.
Master Wu’s Green Dragon tincture
Master Wu’s Green Dragon recipe is a tincture made with a specific extraction process that applies heat to the mixture rather than letting it sit. This recipe provides a faster method of extraction, taking only 20 minutes.
In addition to the above ingredients, you will also need a pot of hot water.
Here’s how to make Master Wu’s Green Dragon tincture:
- Combine the cannabis and alcohol in the jar and close it.
- Place the jar in a pot of hot water and simmer for 20 minutes, not letting the temperature exceed 170F. The water should come halfway up the jar.
- Remove the jar from the water and allow it to cool.
- Strain the mix with a cheesecloth and pour the tincture into the storage container.
Important: Alcohol is flammable, so never leave the tincture unattended while cooking.
Top tips for making green dragon tincture
- Store your infusion for up to six months and strain once you’re ready to use.
- THC is the most common cannabinoid used to make green dragon tincture, but you can also use a CBD or CBG-rich strain.
- If you don’t like the taste of alcohol, include time for evaporation in your process, but note that this will make the tincture more potent.
Common mistakes with green dragon tincture
- Don’t leave your flower intact! The smaller the pieces, the better extraction works.
- Don’t use isopropyl alcohol. It is not safe for consumption.
- Not using alcohol with high enough proof. The higher the proof, the more effective the solvent. This recipe calls for 190 – 200 proof, although you can use any proof you have on hand. Everclear is a popular choice.
- The lower the proof, the longer the extraction process will take. If you’re using 50 – 120 proof alcohol, your extract will take three weeks.
Should you mix green dragon into a drink?
Though the tincture is made with alcohol, mixing additional alcohol and cannabis can be dangerous and is not recommended.
If you want to make a green dragon drink with the tincture, omit any other forms of alcohol and combine with mixers over ice. You can also use it to make other drinks like lemonade.